Meeting DO-254 and ED-80 Guidelines When Using Xilinx FPGAs

RTCA DO-254 and its counterpart in Europe, EUROCAE ED-80, are guidelines for the design of complex electronic hardware (CEH) for use in avionics systems. FAA advisory circular AC 20-152, dated June 30, 2005, made DO-254 an official requirement for suppliers of civil aviation avionics systems. DO-254 is a collection of best industry practices for design assurance of airborne electronic hardware. These guidelines advocate a top-down approach for design and verification of safety critical electronics and other avionics systems and represent the consensus of the aviation community. This white paper addresses how Xilinx can support customers in meeting these design assurance requirements with regards to Xilinx silicon, design software, internal configuration management, and internal validation processes.

DO-254, Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware, published by RTCA, Inc., provides guidance for design assurance in airborne electronic hardware to ensure its safe operation. Rather than specify how to implement the requirements or which test should be completed, DO-254 specifies the process of design assurance and certification. According to the document, design assurance is:

All of those planned and systematic actions used to substantiate, at an adequate level of confidence, that design errors have been identified and corrected such that the hardware satisfies the application certification basis.

While this paper addresses DO-254 design assurance for Xilinx FPGAs, it is the hardware system and not the individual components that achieves DO-254 certification — an integrated circuit (IC) cannot be DO-254 certified. Each system, including any FPGAs and their associated bitstreams, must be tested and validated.

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